Well SQ started as an itch I had to scratch. For years I’ve played RuneQuest, its pretty much my favorite game and I have a rabid attachment in the same sense that some people do to D&D. Suffice to say I went through the whole excitement-disappointment cycle several times when Mongoose Runequest came out. Rather than whinge about what I didn’t like about the game, I started to tweak the SRD (System Resource Document – the rules of the game without any examples, setting or flavour text available free to download off Mongoose’s web site),to suit the way that I play RQ. It was one of those ‘fiddling’ projects I do from time to time – which inevitably turn into something bigger.
Then I realised I wasn’t ‘fixing’ or ‘improving’ MRQ but rather altering it into the game that evolved out of a five year long game that me and my home group played back at the height of our RQ fanaticism. In this game we gradually simplified and streamlined the rules, since none us were big number crunchers. At the time I didn’t take it any further than a mass of house rules, that existed mainly in my head, but the release of the MRQ SRD under the OGL (Open Gaming License) gives me the opportunity to release it. So SimpleQuest was born over a couple of lunch hours.
My current plan
- Finish off tweaking the MRQ SRD, playtest it, then put together a book for release via Lulu/RPGnow etc hopefully early 2008.
- All the additional/tweaked rules will be released as Open Game Content in the SQ SRD, so other RQ/BRP fanatics can use it, since I’m a great believer in giving back and anyway none of this is original anyways.
- The ‘full’ version of the game will have examples, explanation, flavour text and be designed as a simple introductory RPG. It will also have a simple setting The Shattered Lands, which I’ve already written up as part of my Life and Death scenario, and a simple introductory scenario.
- As well as being a stand alone system it will form the basis of at least one other RPG, my game of Ancient period City States; Blood and Sand, which was another important consideration when I started work on it.
Progress so far
I’ve currently SQed the main RQ_SRD and I’m currently doing the same for the chapters from the companion that I am going to use (Sorcery, Divine, Spirit World, Temples, Enchantment). This first pass is SQ v1.
Using SQ v1, I’ve play tested Life and Death with it was pleasantly surprised. It was exactly the fast paced game that I intended and everyone had a good time.
Once I’ve finished off SQ v1 by the end of this week I intend to pass it around various RQ/BRP grognards. If you are interested in being included on this ‘peer review/play test’ please leave a comment below.
I’m also running it at Furnace 2007, playing the SQ version of Life and Death.
Gone are backgrounds and occupations, and in with a simple point buy system for basic/advanced skills. Occupation templates with equipment available for players who want inspiration or to pick something off the self. Characteristics are a basic random dice roll or point buy.
Gone are hit points per location replaced with Total Hit points (Siz + CON). Gone are all the twiddly combat options (dives, free attacks etc) and confusing combat tables. Gone are strike ranks and combat actions. Order of combat now Cthulhu style, ie highest Dex first, combatants get one attack and one parry or dodge. The rules assume characters are wearing full sets of armour (eg. a full set of plate or chain) with a single AP for all locations. Serious and Major Wounds, quarter and half hp in one blow respectively, are optional rules for GMs who want to add more detail and roughly approximate what happens when a location is reduced to 0 and beyond in standard RQ.
Pretty much as is, with the exception that modifiers for difficulty are now either half (Hard), quarter (Very Hard) or ten per cent (Near impossible) of original unmodified skill to make the maths easier and the effect more noticeable.
Removed the ‘randomness’ of Character Improvement rolls. Now pc’s get a base 3 ‘improvement’ automatically of 1d6+1 (rather than the stingy 1d4+1 raise),for skills they have used in the adventure. If there is downtime between adventures, the pcs can spend their treasure for training at the Guilds that teach the skills they want to learn. Characteristics rather than being paid for by three improvement rolls, increase when under certain circumstances. eg. Pow may increase when the character has successfully resisted magic and Constitution may increase when a character has successfully resisted poison.
Rules for characters with over 100% score. In combat over 100% attack/dodge can split attacks/dodges. All skills have appropriate ‘Techniques’ that can be learnt from another Master or ancient tome. For example Acrobatics has ‘Infinite Back-flip’ . Each Technique has a magic point cost and a chance of success equal to the skill over 100% (ie. 125% acrobatics gives a 25% chance of performing an ‘Infinite Back-flip’, if the master fails he still does an impressive single back-flip though). Also rules for opposed tests involving masters.
Removed casting time (which complicates and kills usefulness in combat), having separate casting skills, and the rules for integrating runes themselves. Gone back to the old RQ2 name of Battlemagic, even though allot of these spells now work for personal conflict.
Gone back to the good sacrifice POW permanently style that we know and love from previous editions.
I actually quite like the Sorcery rules as written in MRQ. As with the rest of the rules all mention of hit locations, combat actions and casting times have been removed.
Spirit combat – back to match mp vs mp for spirit combat. Also rules for learning spells from spirits and Shaman rules.
Simplify to have Spell Matrixes (items that hold spells), Power reservoirs (items that hold MP) and items that are both Matrixes and Reservoirs. Rules for binding Spirits and other magical creatures. Optional rules for ‘always on’ type magic items.
Rules for adventuring in the lands of mythology and the gods. The magical effects, the risks and the rewards of venturing into these highly magical lands. NB this will not be my attempt to make a set of Generic Hero Questing rules, but a much straight forward set of rules for what happens when adventurers travel to other planes ofexistence more magical than their own.